Stephen Reese
Sr. Human Resources Specialist

KC Atchinson
Director of Equity & Title IX
Title IX Coordinator, Employee ADA Coordinator
Conflict Management Program Coordinator

Search Committees

Effective search committees are essential to recruiting and selecting the most talented candidates with a variety of backgrounds and points of view.

Search Committee Training is required every 18 months for all individuals (Including External Committee Members) who serve on a search at UMKC. Search committee training includes the following modules:

Module One: Hiring for Inclusivity

Module Two: Search Committee Essentials

There is a training each month at the Administrative Center; dates and times are on myLearn. Please note that this schedule is subject to change due to low enrollment. Please, direct scheduling questions to Christi Roeder at or 816-235-1323.


The Search Committee Process





Upon receiving approval at the department level, the hiring authorization committee, and the Provost’s office through the Request to Recruit Form, units are able to begin the hiring process.

Please visit the Academic Hiring site for more detailed information.


Upon receiving approval at the department level and the hiring authorization committee, units are able to begin the hiring process. Prior to jobs being posted, units meet with their respective HR recruiter to determine whether the search will be conducted by full-cycle recruitment or through the use of a search committee.

Please visit the Recruitment Services page for more detailed information.

Position and Organizational Analysis

It is important to analyze of internal factors when looking to fill a vacancy (Some of these issues/factors should be considered prior to seeking approvals)

Some important things to consider prior to forming a search committee:

  • Could this be a half-time, part-time, seasonal, academic year, or temporary position?
  • What would happen if this position were not filled/refilled?
  • Is it the right time of year to search for this particular kind of position?
  • Can some or all of the work be automated, outsourced, or distributed among others?
  • Are there internal candidates who could fill the position?
  • What changes in the industry, marketplace and position need to be considered before the search?

Lee, Christopher D. Search Committees: A Comprehensive Guide to Successful Faculty, Staff, and Administrative Searches. First ed. Sterling: Stylus, LLC, 2014. Print.                          

Adapted from Lee & Bradley-Baker, 2012.

Forming the Search Committee

Selecting Search Committee Members

Search committees should be made up of persons who are qualified to evaluate the qualifications of our candidates.  Committees made up of individuals with a variety of backgrounds and points of view enhance their ability to provide the optimum assessment of all candidates and provide each candidate equal opportunity to feel comfortable and welcome. This also allows for candidates to be evaluated through multiple perspectives, increasing the likelihood of fair and equitable process.

Keep in mind the following when seeking members to be on a search committee:

  • Search committee members do not have to be from the same department
  • The Office of Human Resources houses a list of everyone on campus who has completed search committee training
  • External, community members are great additions to your committee
First Meeting of the Search Committee

A representative from HR and Affirmative Action should attend to provide the full search committee with information related to the committee’s affirmative action responsibilities, to answer any questions about search procedures, provide consultation through search committee training.

Also at the committee’s first meeting, a timetable is developed for the committee’s work. Procedures are established through setting the committee charge.

Setting the Charge

Search committees should always receive their charge before they begin their work. The hiring authority should keep in mind that a poor hiring recommendation by the committee is often the result of a poorly conceived or written charge.

The charge should indicate without any ambiguity the committee’s task, deadline, and budget and the kind of candidate that the hiring authority wishes to attract. The task varies. In some cases, the search committee is instructed to make a hiring recommendation. In other cases, the committee is instructed to hire an individual.

If the committee is instructed to rank candidates for the hiring authority, the charge should make clear that the hiring authority is not bound by the committee’s listing or ranking in making his or her selection. If the committee is not made aware of the hiring authority’s prerogative, and the hiring authority chooses the third-ranked rather than the top-ranked finalist, the committee may feel that its work was not as important as it was led to believe.

Please visit the resources section for a sample charge checklist.

Advertising and Recruitment

Advertising involves announcing a vacancy in various media to gain the interest of potentially qualified applicants.

Recruiting involves actively identifying and seeking qualified professionals. Recruitment targets candidates who are passive and may not be actively seeking work as well as non-passive candidates. Recruitment is a compliment to advertising.

Screening and Evaluating

Having established clear selection criteria, the search committee is ready to screen applications with an agreed upon understanding of what will constitute a strong candidate.


Interviews should be conducted in a manner that complies with the university’s commitment to equal employment opportunity, to ensure that qualified candidates are not discriminated against in employment decisions on the basis of irrelevant criteria such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, and status as Vietnam-era veteran. Federal statutes and court rulings have established that interview questions not relevant to the applicant’s ability to perform the job may be discriminatory and therefore illegal under certain circumstances.

Individuals conducting interviews should be aware that such questions could be used as evidence in discrimination charges against the university. The following examples of interview areas are taken from information provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. These areas are representative of the type of interview questions which, if not relevant to the applicant’s job performance ability, may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or other laws aimed at achieving equal employment opportunity for all.

Competency-Based Behavioral Interviewing

Interviewing Tips

Sample Interview Questions

Inappropriate Interview Questions (UM policy HR-110)

Campus Visits

During the interview process, an important aspect of the campus visit is the fact that candidates are interviewing the organization concurrently. The courting nature of an interview process should be something all committee members are aware of.

Logistics related to the campus visit can be coordinated by the committee’s administrative support.

Ideally, candidates should receive driving directions and a full itinerary/schedule of events. If applicable, it would be a good idea to connect candidates to a local realtor.

See the resources section for a sample campus visit checklist.

ADA Accommodations

The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, leave, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities.
In order to meet our accommodation obligation without violating the ADA, when inviting candidates for on-campus interviews it is useful to ask a carefully worded question that gives candidates the opportunity to identify any special needs without asking about a disability. Example: “Are there any special considerations of which we should be aware in planning your visit to UMKC?

“Questions and Answers.” Americans with Disabilities Act. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 9 Oct. 2008. Web. 23 Sept. 2016. 

Reference Checking

It is generally recommended that hiring managers or search committee chairs complete a minimum of two reference checks prior to a job offer being made (a third check is highly recommended if either of the first two are less than satisfactory).

Before the tentative offer is extended, two reference check forms must be emailed to your HR Facilitator, to be submitted electronically in eRecruit and filed with the official search documents.

Off-List References
Ask the candidate for permission before making any reference calls—both for people specifically listed as references, and then later to get the applicant’s general agreement that the committee or consultant may call anyone, with names unspecified.

Place the calls carefully, and request confidentiality. Committees should contact off-list references for only a small number of serious finalists, or for candidates whose public interviews have already ended their confidentiality.


At the conclusion of the interview process, the hiring committee should discuss the outcome of all interviews.

Depending on the charge, committees are to deliver the candidate(s) they wish to recommend for employment.


Role of Human Resources

UMKC Human Resources is available to provide guidance throughout the search process. HR collaborates with the chair and Affirmative Action Office in order to serve as liaison for external advertising. Once finalists are identified, HR should be notified in order to conduct pre-employment screening, i.e., educational verification, professional reference checks and background reporting. HR will also work closely with the hiring official regarding the starting salary and offer of employment.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a search committee required?

A search committee is required for all tenured and tenured track positions.

What are the search committee role descriptions?

The various roles in a search committee include:

Hiring Authority- responsible for deciding to fill and approve a position.

Search Committee Chair- designated to lead committee in their due diligence.

Search Committee Members- responsible for ensuring high quality, diverse applicant pool and making selection recommendations.

Administrative Support- Critical staff to support the search and ensure no detail gets lost.

How large should my search committee be?

Generally a search committee should include 5-7 and no less than 3 members. Usually, the higher the position level, the larger the committee will be.

What if I miss an interview?

As a committee member, if you miss some or all of the interviews you should not participate in discussions of rank ordering/grouping of applicants, but you may provide comments on those that you attended.

What are guidelines/best practices for internal candidates?

Internal applicants should meet the same levels of qualifications as external applicants. They should not be given ‘courtesy’ interviews and, of course, they are not allowed to participate in the evaluation process of other applicants.

How do I know when I am due to participate in another search committee training?

You can login on my Learn to check when you last participated in a mandatory search committee training.

When forming a search committee, how do I know who to choose?

Please contact Susi Mickey in Training & Development for references and guidance in selecting members of your search committee.